Sunday, December 19, 2010


A beautiful gold candy cane is my second favorite piece of jewelry because of who gave it to me and what I learned from this precious gift: To find joy in the gift that has been given and in turn "learn to better receive, that we may truly rejoice in both the gift and “in him who is the giver of the gift.” ( A. Elder Merrill October G.C. 2006)

The pin was given to me by a girl name Arianna. Arianna was tweleve, yet had a mentality of perhaps a six year old. I haven't seen her since we left Texas ten years ago but I well remember her as a remarkably gifted girl filled with so much love that, I never knew her to see anyone but as her best friend.

One Sunday before Christmas waiting for Sacrament meeting to start, Airianna came to extend her regular welcome to me. In doing so, she admired a wreath pinned on my shirt. It was an old worn out piece that I got at a yard sale long ago. She touched it so reverently and adoringly that I could no longer keep it for myself. I asked her if she would like the pin. I wished I had the ability to paint the picture of her face with words, it showed sheer joy! She immediately asked me to pin it on her. In primary that day she showed everyone her newly adorned pin. You would have thought I had given her a priceless 'Smithsonian worthy' piece of jewelry. When in fact I had not. I think I may have paid fifty cents for it. However the value of the pin laid in the eye of the beholder and she adored her new gift. Behold, she rejoiced in that which is given unto her, also rejoiced in him who is the giver of the gift” (see D.&C. 88:33).

Oh, but wait, I was yet to be taught further from this little angel. After church she asked me if I could come over to her house because she had a gift for me. I tried to tell her I didn't need something in return but she was more than insistent. I had been home maybe twenty minutes when she called and asked if I could come over right now! Frankly, I was a little embarrassed. Her mother finally convinced me when she told me it would devastate her if I didn't come. As I got to their home, I saw Arianna waiting for me on the porch with a small box in her hand. When I opened the small box, I was speechless. I wasn't sure if she hadn't gone and got one of her mother's priceless piece of jewelry to give me. There inside the box was a gold candy cane, adorned with precious jewels, it was beautiful! How on earth could I accept such a gift, yet how could I not? Now it was my turn to learn to receive. I humbly accepted the gift, hugged Arianna as she quickly went on her way oblivious to the significance of the difference in the monetary value of her gift from the one I had given her. Even now as I contemplate, what I consider, my insignificant gift to her I am amazed. Her ability to see beauty and great worth in even something so insignificant to me or the rest of the world will always be an example to me of our Savior.

As we proffer our seemingly insignificant gift; A broken heart, a contrite spirit, to our Savior, He lovingly accepts it, then in return offers a gift so incomparable that we can only marvel in awe of the goodness, no even the greatness of His gift.

And so this Christmas Eve I will wear my pin as yet another reminder of the perfect gift given to us so many years ago; A gift, we can open anew, each and every day as we adorn our lives with His love. As I remember Arianna's outstretched hands so excited to receive my gift, I further understand the Savior's outstretched hands awaiting my simple offer and find peace in knowing that if my heart is pure, (as Arianna's) that through Him, and by Him it is enough.



Sunday, December 12, 2010

Two of my Favorite Things


Each year at Christmas time I enjoy pulling out the little box that holds all my Christmas jewelry. It holds a potpourri of items but two, are my favorite. One I choose to wear, always, first. It is a pin given to me by a friend (Kami Wallace) years ago when we lived in Arlington, Texas. The pin itself is a Nativity. For a few years Marsha Jacobson (another wonderful friend) and myself were assigned the opportunity to decorate a room for our annual stake Nativity Display. I think I can speak for Marsha in that, we found much joy as we would contemplate, plan and carry out that assignment.

One year I learned a particularly important lesson. Marsha and I had decided that 'this year' we would decorate the room to represent downtown Bethlehem. Marsha, the guru of anything, had saved some old packing foam pieces and figured out if we sliced them like bread, painted them and glued them to a fake wall, they would resemble stone. Indeed they did, it was amazing. Then Marsha (guru, remember?) had come across and old wooden cart. Somehow she managed to get it home to be utilized in the room. We made loaves of bread and hung herbs. We even went down to a local creek and fished out rocks AND mud to create a well. The final touch; live doves in a cage, symbolic, right? The room was amazing! Then we carefully placed the assigned Nativities given to us throughout the room. Upon completion, as we stood back and marveled at our hours of work...we were, well... disapointed. It was not as we had imagined it. Don't get me wrong, the decorating was in and of itself fantastic, but we had found a flaw, a HUGE flaw! In an effort to create the "perfect room" to display the Nativities, the decorations had usurped the attention of the room; The Nativities were hardly noticed. We had overshadowed the very thing the room had been created for.

I was taught much at that moment. One lesson is very obvious, sometimes we can spend so much time in the fancy displays of Christmas that we lose sight of the most important thing about it; Christ. Sometimes you may, I know I have, think Christ needs something fantastic to display His love, not only in our homes but in our personal lives. Certainly the decorations are a wonderful part of the season but my pin reminds me He was born, not in a fancy palace, but in an unassuming, humble stable. May I never allow the world and all it's elaborate displays to distract, to overshadow my very purpose here on earth; to remember him, to follow Him, to be like Him, to return home to Him.

And so each Christmas time I reverently place my Nativity pin first, and foremost over and upon my heart. That I might remember Him, that in all the fun and wonderful moments of Christmas time, I don't allow Christ to get lost in Christmas.

See next post for second favorite Christmas jewelry.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Future is in Good Hands

Let's hope that the horrendous 911 memory of today is never added upon, in any part of the world; The youth of tomorrow deserve better. However, should it loom it's ugly destructive head again in the future, I will find hope in the righteous, good youth of today to lead us forward. As a prophet of God has stated"...I see this as the one bright shining hope in a world that is marching toward moral self-destruction..." President Gordon B. Hinckley

Yesterday I had the such a great time substitute teaching at Seventy First High School. The students were some of the best I have had the opportunity to work with. They were respectful, engaged. They were there, for the most part, in an effort to learn. I loved every minute of it. Deanna McNay asked me to fill in for her and I don't know how she did it but she had them on their best behavior! Perhaps I don't give them enough credit, maybe they are like that all the time? I wouldn't be surprised.

Let me give you one example of what I mean. when I asked the class if there is anything that they believed in so strongly that they would stand up for it even in the face of public humiliation. One courageous young man said. "I believe in abstinence before marriage", right there in front of his peers! There were comments made but he stood strong and guess what, no one laughed.


Sometimes I leave a class room thinking, "I was not made for this, maybe I should be doing something different", and then I have days like yesterday that make me want to go back again and again. I am grateful to Sister McNay for the trust and the opportunity she gave me to work with such outstanding students, her students. Last but not least, thanks to the students of Mrs. McNay's History class, the future of tomorrow looks better with you in it.
Mrs. Mann, aka Oxymoron

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I just got through reading 3 Nephi:22 where it is recorded how the Lord asked Nephi for a record of the people and found Nephi had not included some things. As I read that I felt disappointment. I had made a promise to myself that this blog would be my journal. A journal filled with experiences which attest of my Heavenly Father's love. Yet, I find that knowing it is open to any who care to read, influences my desire to want to share. Therefore, I neglect that which will and is, of great value to myself, my posterity and my Heavenly Father.

After reading 3 Nephi 22, I read my daughter-in-law's post. She put into words so eloquently what I was feeling. She has inspired me to write down my thoughts, regardless. Oft times I feel I need some Pulitzer acclaimed comments to journal and rather than take the time to even attempt to achieve such a thing, I pass, letting the things which I feel are sacred or important go unchronicled.

One day I may be asked to hand over such a book as the one afore ascribed by Mormon. If that moment were now, where would I be? Not a pleasant thought for me. Thank you Melissa for waking me up out of a prideful sleep and helping to shake the scales from my eyes. Helping me to write down the 'moments that matter':)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Eternal Birthday, Clairisa.



July 26th

Her tiny heartbeats, nay but one, her perfect little soul,
Came and left before we knew, towards her heavenly role.
Though her mortal life was fleeting, we'll never be the same,
She came to fill her purpose that we might celestial gain.
Because we long to be with her, she makes us better be,
More like our Savior, Jesus Christ, to live eternally.

And so, today we wish you with joyful, yet humble hearts
Happy Birthday little Clairisa, for mortality is one small part.
Because two hands across an alter with promises made by three;
Father, then father and mother, your family was bound eternally.
And when we have completed all we were sent here to do,
With the Lord's mutual approbation, we will come and dwell with you.

Love Grandma by the beach.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Top Ten reasons I am glad to be in Las Vegas

Before I start my list I need to throw out a disclaimer that these are not in order of importance. All have their own degree of significance.
#10. I get to play with my granddaughters!
#9. I get to see Brooklynn dance.
#8. I get to help cheer Vaughn on during his marathon.
#7. I get to spend a week with Stefani, while she is teaching swim lessons.
#5. I get to spend some time with and helping my daughter while she recovers from having a baby.
#4. I get to love and hold little beautiful baby Jordyn.
#3. I get to see my family while visiting Utah for the marathon.
#2.. I get to go to the temple with my mother.
#1. Well see for yourself the last reason why I am happy to be in Las Vegas:

0609_alligator_lake.jpgYes indeed that is an Alligator, but wait, this picture was not taken in the often noted Florida wildlife preserves but in the quiet little town of Hope Mills in it's newly renovated Lake. Las Vegas just gets better and better!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Just in Case You Think They Don't Notice

While visiting Amber and Vaughn's home,Vaughn has been training for a marathon. Last Saturday while Brooklynn (their oldest daughter) and I were coming back from the gym I noticed a man running. Since I knew that Vaughn was out running at this time, in jest I said "Is that your daddy coming towards us? Obviously, it wasn't her dad, he had dark hair and was much shorter. I thought Brooklynn would giggle and say, that's not my dad! However, her answer both surprised and taught me. As the runner got closer and we passed him, Brooklynn, with what I am going to call reverent confidence; quietly stated; "That's not my dad, he would never dress immodestly." I was almost ashamed for even suggesting it. I can only surmise that my own lack of observation came through desensitization, because I hadn't even noticed he was not wearing a shirt. Living in the south and in a military town often, if not daily, I see men running "immodestly" and have come to accept it as the norm. Thank you Vaughn for teaching your daughter by example and thank you Brooklynn for teaching your grandmother marvelous things. ".....and they both saw and heard these children; yea, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvelous things;" 3 Nephi 26:16.

I read something the other day that has stayed with me, which I feel is very appropo for this post. (I can't remember where or I would give the reference)

Just how little do I have to be, to be like a little child?

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